As a result of the debate about patent value, patent valuation, and the usage of patents as assets, value-orientated patent portfolios were developed in the 2000s. The basic concept of a dedicated value chain for a patent is that a patent can be seen as an asset and must therefore be productive. This implies a process that comprises the whole patent life cycle, where the use and exploitation leads to the optimization of the patent. How to analyze patent portfolios based on an IP strategy can be learned in the CEIPI Certified University Course on IP Strategy Development.

The three main phases of a patent value chain are generation, administration, and exploitation. These consecutive phases increase the economic benefit of the patent while simultaneously reducing the relative costs. The generation phase consists of research and development, invention, protection, and strategy. The administration phase consists of portfolio management, reporting, and controlling. The exploitation phase begins, where the increasing economic benefit meets the decreasing relative costs, the portfolio is from this point considered as optimized.

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According to the patent life cycle, a portfolio has a typical pathway through the value-orientated patent portfolio. New portfolios are generated for new technologies and products, and the market is developing. Ideally, the portfolio is then on the way to become a star. When the company works on next-generation products or already has these new products in the market, the corporate relevance of the portfolio goes down and it becomes a cash cows. These portfolios still have high market relevance but are no longer success critical for the company. Such portfolios can be licensed out. Once the market interest goes down, the attractiveness of licensing is also reduced, and the portfolio should be sold or discontinued.

Creating an optimized IP portfolio by analyzing the patent life cycle is a key objective of value-orientated patent portfolio management, whose key strategies can be learned in the university certificate course on IP Strategy Development at CEIPI.